Democrats cannot save Republicans from themselves
Only Republicans can do that.
One of the most successful spies of the 20th century was a guy named Ashraf Marwan. The son-in-law of Egyptian President Gamal Nassar, he began selling information to Israel because he resented his father-in-law, and continued selling them information when he became a top aide to his successor Anwar Sadat. In 1973, he gave Mossad a heads-up that Egypt and Syria were going to attack on Yom Kippur. He had previously warned that Egypt was about to attack twice and both times Israel had mobilized their defenses only for the attacks not to happen. So when he warned this third time, there was debate within Mossad and the Israeli government about whether he was full of shit. This was one of the reasons that Israel only partially mobilized in advance of Yom Kippur. Of course, this third time he was right (though he was wrong about the exact time of the attack).
After the war, there was a lot of backbiting in Israel about why the IDF hadn’t been more prepared. So, about thirty years later, he ended up getting publicly identified by an academic whose fingering was then confirmed by one of the Israeli intelligence chiefs who had been blamed for the late mobilization. The guy who confirmed that said he was a double agent—because of the previous false warnings and the fact that he got the time of day wrong—shifting the blame to him. Another Israeli intelligence chief denied this and it became a public back and forth.
A few years later, Ashraf Marwan died under mysterious circumstances in London. On his death, Egypt came out and said that he was a national hero who was indeed a double agent. But was he? Or was Egypt just trying to save face? This is sort of a live question. The official position of Israel is that he was not a double agent. But they also could be trying to save face.
It seems like, in fact, he wasn’t a double agent. In 2016, Uri Bar-Joseph wrote a book about all of this called “The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel,” explaining why Marwan had innocently gotten some of those details wrong and making the case that he was not only a genuine Israeli spy but that his actions had been monumentally significant.1
There are a few different arguments that the author makes for why Marwan was not a double agent. The most compelling, according to a review published in the CIA’s Studies In Intelligence, is that the information Israel received was simply too helpful to Israel, and too harmful to Egypt.
“From the start, the Angel gave Israel not “seed corn”—intelligence that was true but of marginal consequence—but highly damaging, order-of-battle information. As the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War would eventually show, Marwan provided accurate intelligence about how the Egyptian military would conduct itself and the signs to watch for in its battle preparations a year before the attack, giving Israel plenty of time to ready its defenses.”.
But a second argument the author makes is that, basically, Egypt wasn’t smart enough to do this.
“[Bar-Joseph] argues the Egyptians were not any good at these operations, and that only the Soviets and British had the knack for them.”
I thought of that last line when, on Tuesday, after Kevin McCarthy became the first speaker of the House to be voted out, a talking point was put forth by certain members of the conservative commentariat that this was the Democrats’ fault.
Both parties often ascribe mythical powers of strategic genius to the other one. I’ve written a few times about this among Democrats. Karl Rove plays four-dimensional chess. Cambridge Analytica stole the 2016 election. The GOP executes its will with force and verve, unrestrained by the pragmatic fears and deference to norms that trip up the liberal agenda. Etc…
But this is a funny example of Republicans doing it as well.
The Democrats baited the most far-right members of the House GOP into knifing their own leader? These guys are good! They must wake up very early!
Many proponents of this theory are also supporters of the idea that Donald Trump’s popularity among Republican primary voters is the result of a psyop by Democrats hoping to run against an indicted general election nominee.
Where do the Democrats get the time?
Occam’s Razor is the famous principle that, all things considered, the simplest explanation is probably the right one. On social media, Occam doesn’t have a razor. And if he did, he’d be planning something devious with it.
The Democrats are the party that recently spent a year trying to rename Abraham Lincoln High School. These are not brilliant tactical minds! This is the Egyptian intelligence service.
No one in American politics is nearly as intentional and brilliant as their enemies believe. Sometimes politicians succeed, and sometimes they fail. There are many reasons for those outcomes, but one of the reasons for those outcomes is that sometimes people do dumb self-destructive shit. It happens in Congress. It happens at Burger King.
A Democratic congressman only a few days ago tried to open a door by pulling a fire alarm. This isn’t a John Le Carré novel. It’s Looney Tunes.
Let’s be real for a second:
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